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GARDENING : Picking the Right Spot to Make Your Tree Tops

February 29, 1992|From Associated Press

Planting trees around a new home is easy; placing them in the right spots so their beauty and shade can be enjoyed for years to come is the part that needs some careful thought, reports Home Plan Ideas magazine.

Each tree variety has its own spacing and growth requirements. In general, if a tree grows 20 feet high or more, plant it at least 15 feet from any structure to keep its roots away from the foundation. Never plant such a tree near utility lines or under a roof overhang.

With shade trees, keep in mind the angle and direction of the sun. Before digging, select a spot where the tree will provide adequate shade. Locate trees to frame the house, choosing those that will stay in scale with the size of the home and its architectural features.

There are different types of shade trees, each offering various shade characteristics. The list that follows will help homeowners find the perfect shade tree for their yard:

* Pyramid-shape trees, such as small-leaved lindens, red-horse chestnuts and pin oaks, are excellent for average-size lawns or along streets. So grass will not be shaded out, the trees must be spaced widely to permit light to penetrate beneath them. Avoid planting them directly in front of windows; their dense foliage will block the view.

* "Weeping" shade trees, such as beech, willows and European ash, also need open spaces. Typically, they spread as wide as they are tall.

* Vase-shape trees, such as red and white oaks, sugar maples and sycamores, grow tall, with top branches somewhat wider than bottom ones. They make wonderful back yard trees where lots of shade is needed. Too many vase-shape trees in a small area, however, make lawns difficult to maintain because of lack of sunlight.

* Rounded trees, such as maples and hawthorns, cause few problems for lawns. Their branching makes them suitable for planting along streets and in front lawns.

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